The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Located on a secluded 23-acre site in San Antonio, Texas, the McNay Art Museum is a flexible space with a fascinating history. Based around the original Spanish Colonial-Revival house, constructed in 1926, the McNay Art Museum now offers striking modern spaces to complement the original structure. Beautiful grounds, water features, hilltop views and an art collection including works by Picasso, Monet and Renoir are just some of the things that make this a very special wedding venue.
The McNay Art Museum enjoys an intriguing combination of the historic and the contemporary, which benefits from being able to offer large, as well as more intimate indoor and outdoor venues for anywhere between 15 and 300 guests. The substantial gardens and grounds are a real treat—with water features, sculptures and many beautiful paths and walkways that combine to create a tranquil atmosphere, fusing the best of a modern museum and a charming country house.
The Gazebo & Fish Pond area is inspired by a Japanese garden and benefits from good shade, while the Main Fountain is in the sun. Both areas make a quaint, romantic setting for a standing outdoor reception for up to 50 guests. Once the ceremony is over, couples and their guests can then head over to any of the following spaces to continue the festivities.
The Blackburn Patio is a romantic courtyard ideal for open-air ceremonies, cocktails or hors d'oeuvres. The space is enclosed by the museum buildings and benefits from lush trees, a water feature and beautiful flowering plants. The Blackburn Patio can be rented in several packages and can be used in combination with the different indoor spaces available at the McNay Art Museum.
The Frost Octagon is an impressive octagonal space that is part of the original Spanish Colonial-Revival mansion. With a vaulted, wooden domed ceiling, this distinctive room is used by many couples for taking photographs or cutting the wedding cake. It's also an excellent spot for an escort card table or a bar. The interesting and authentic architectural details look great in photos and the inviting octagonal shape encourages guests to mingle.
The Leeper Auditorium is a 3,400-square-foot space with hardwood floors and a spectacular, vaulted wooden ceiling. The cathedral ceilings and unobstructed space provide flexibility and allow the room to be configured to the couple's needs. The Leeper Auditorium can comfortably seat 250 for dinner and still leave space for a dance floor, which makes it ideal for the main reception space. If you need to seat more guests, it's possible to seat 300 without a dance floor or up to 500 for a standing reception.
What You Should Know
The McNay Art Museum was the first modern art museum in Texas and houses more than 20,000 works of art. There are several options for renting this multifaceted venue, enabling to-be-weds to choose between the gallery space, outdoor area and the large reception spaces. Couples can also rent all three spaces for large events. Both of the outdoor areas can be rented for a maximum of one hour for ceremonies and no seating is allowed to be set up in either area.
Couples are free to contract their own services for the big day. However, the McNay Art Museum has a comprehensive list of preferred professionals in its brochure who have experience working at the venue. How much or how little to-be-weds make use of these services and indeed the venue itself, is entirely up to them, making the McNay Art Museum a varied and flexible space.
The McNay Art Museum is a renowned museum of modern art as well a fantastic wedding venue and was substantially updated and extended in 2008. Couples can rent the entire museum, giving them and their guests access to the following bonuses.
- World renowned art collection
- The spectacular Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, built in 2008
- Private viewings of the collections for couples and their guests
From the Vendor
Add Monet, Picasso and Renoir to your guest list
The McNay Art Museum offers a unique opportunity to entertain guests in a beautiful and historic setting. Offer your guests the chance to experience an internationally renowned art collection during your reception. Dine and dance in the elegant Leeper Auditorium and enjoy the oasis of the courtyard.
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Ballroom, Museum, Historic Venue
As soon as we walked into the McNay we knew it was the perfect venue for us. The property is obviously beautiful, but the auditorium can truly be amazing as well. The rental coordinator, Monica, was more helpful than I could have ever imagined. We had our heart set on having our ceremony in the Blackburn Patio (the outdoor courtyard in the middle of the museum), even though this isn't typically where ceremonies take place. Monica helped make our dream a reality and provided layouts, photos, and her expertise to all of our vendors to be sure everything was perfect. She also helped us choose uplighting and gobos for the auditorium for our reception, and in the end it looked incredible. On our big day many of our guests told me it was the best wedding they've ever been to, and I'm still getting emails and texts about how incredible the McNay was. It was truly our dream wedding, and I know a big reason for it's success was Monica's help! She guided us through the entire process and always had an answer for my seemingly endless questions within an hour or two, and was always kind and enthusiastic. We truly felt like she cared about making our wedding day perfect, and it definitely showed in the end. I can't recommend the McNay highly enough!
Incredibly BeautifulReviewed on 10/19/2015 Krystiana C
I had my ceremony and reception at the McNay Art Museum. Everything flowed perfectly, from the ceremony on the lawn, to cocktail hour in the courtyard (with guests being allowed to tour some of the galleries) to the octagon room for the bar and miscellaneous table set ups, and finally to the auditorium for the reception. All of the guests were so in awe of the beauty the McNay offered. It was a seamless night. This is a museum so they are a bit strict with certain things, so as long as you have an open mind in knowing that, then you are good to go!
Worth Every DimeReviewed on 9/05/2015 Vicky R
I cannot express how happy I was with my wedding venue, it was perfect! I used the McNay for my wedding reception on Aug. 22, 2015. Monica the museum's event coordinator is wonderful and extremely helpful. She is so organized always responded quickly to all my emails and phone calls. She made sure I had all the necessary information about their preferred vendor list, which made the search a lot easier. She even made me a diagram of the furniture setup inside the Leeper (reception site) and I was able to give it to all my vendors. Whatever question or request I had, Monica always followed through. It was worth every penny to have my wedding here. Beautiful facility with excellent service from Monica.
If you're looking for a unique wedding venue in San Antonio that will make guests feel like they're in paradise, you've come to the right place! Having our wedding at the McNay was hands down the best decision we could have made. From the breathtaking venue itself to its staff, like Monica, it was more than we could have imagined. To this day, more than 6 months after our wedding, our guests are still talking about what a beautiful venue this was. It's definitely an experience, and something you and your guests will always remember. Thank you to everyone involved in making our day so special!
Before booking with the McNay, be aware of what you can/can't do. We used the Leeper Auditorium for our reception, and it was breathtaking, but we weren't able to see our uplighting prior. Monica assured us though that the color scheme for our reception would look exactly like the photos. Also, be aware that you will be charged per table and per chair (if you choose to go with the tables and chairs they have on site). Everything at the museum is a la carte (uplighting, pin lighting, tables, chairs, projector, etc). For our send off, they're very limited in what we could use due to strict museum policies. Also, they end promptly at midnight, so be sure to plan accordingly. Our DJ had to cut off right at that time and cost us our last dance. Despite all the constraints, I would highly recommend the McNay if it is within your budget. My wife and I were able to get beautiful pictures with our favorite pieces in the exhibit, throughout the grounds and in the auditorium.
The McNay Art Museum is an absolutely beautiful venue! Monica R. did an excellent job of assisting me throughout the process, helping me with the lighting and a/v vendors, as well as all aspects of the reception planning. I booked pretty far in advance, so would definitely recommend doing so if you're interested in the venue. I will note that a lot of items are not included in the rental price, including lighting, table and chair rentals, insurance and SAPD (if having alcohol). Good news is you can bring in your own alcohol which is a great way to save money. Also, wonderful way to utilize indoor and outdoor space, having our cocktail hour on the patio and reception inside. All of our guests loved the venue and I've never received so many compliments!
The Best Wedding Venue in San Antonio!Reviewed on 10/30/2014 Kathleen M
As cheesy as it may sound, I always knew I wanted to have my wedding reception at the McNay. My friends and I used to eat off-campus lunch there in high school, so I was intimately familiar with its gorgeous grounds and historic beauty. When my Big Day finally came around, I went straight to the McNay to book them for the wedding of my dreams! There are so many perks to this venue: the extensive and well manicured grounds, the gorgeousness and historic quality of the exterior of the museum, the absolutely beautiful outdoor patio space for cocktail hour, the fact that you can provide your own alcohol (what a $$ saver!) and the fact that some galleries are open for guest viewing during cocktail hour! Our guests raved about what a gorgeous setting the McNay is for a wedding reception. They are easy to work with and very accommodating, allowing me to have multiple site visits with my wedding planner in plan everything to the last detail! Also, their lighting director, John, is an absolute genius! He can truly do anything you want with the Leeper Auditorium - for us, he created a beautiful amber glow with fade into red (for behind the band area) and also hung multiple Spanish lanterns from the ceiling over the head table! It was so magical! All in all, I would definitely recommend the McNay to any bride who wants a truly gorgeous and historic wedding venue that will wow her guests!
The best wedding venueReviewed on 10/01/2014 Addie B
They were so great to work with and really helped to make my day perfect. I loved every second of my wedding and it wouldn't have been near as great if it weren't for the McNay. Bonus: It is the most beautiful place.
Spring SplendorReviewed on 6/17/2014 Grace P
The McNay is an amazing venue for a wedding. We had our reception there with about 250 guests in attendance. The best thing about this venue is that even though the reception hall can only seat 250 there was plenty of room if more guests had come. I would definitely recommend using a day of coordinator if you choose this venue because all vendors have to be outsourced. Our wedding was absolutely gorgeous and everyone really enjoyed the art exhibits that are on display for the cocktail hour.
BEAUTIFUL!!!Reviewed on 5/21/2014 Laura M
This really is one of the most beautiful venues in San Antonio! I didn't spend any money on decorations because the venue doesn't need it. I just had the bare minimum in terms of flowers and linens. And the event coordinator at the McNay is so easy to work with. They do have several rules/conditions, but none of them were deal breakers by any means. So many of our guests commented on how beautiful the wedding and reception were and that they were happy they got to experience that section of the McNay as they'd never had the opportunity before.
BeautifulReviewed on 5/08/2014 Sarah J
This place made my job easy! So beautiful!
Beautiful VenueReviewed on 10/30/2013 Bianca F
I'm so glad that we ended up having our wedding at the Mcnay. I was a little worried when they switched Event Rental Coordinators right after I signed the contract but Elise was wonderful to work with. She was responsive to emails and phone calls and she was able to help me coordinate the lighting (which was gorgeous!!) and the chairs without any issues. Everyone at the wedding loved the courtyard and the auditorium. If you book this venue I suggest that you add lighting to the package, it really made a difference.
McNay Art Museum- You get what you pay for!Reviewed on 3/25/2013 Mari M
The McNay Art Museum was my dream venue, it was beautiful and perfect. The only negative was that every detail was "a la carte". The tables and chairs were a seperate cost, the lighting (which was beautiful) was a separate cost, and their list of preferred vendors was short. Elise, the coordinator was great. The lighting tech ran a little behind, but was done in time. That being said, the venue was perfect, and I am still receiving compliments. Truly a dream wedding venue.
Beautiful...everythingReviewed on 11/17/2012 Melinda P
We had our reception only here. The only negative is the time crunch. We waited outside for a while before our party was allowed in, but we used that time for our private photo shoot. Families took pictures, our photog took pictures, it worked out great.
ExcellentReviewed on 10/25/2012 Lindsey M
We used the McNay for our reception venue. It was fabulous and really wowed our guests. The stage provided a great setting for our band which really set the McNay apart from other venues. I would recommend this venue to anyone in the San Antonio area!
Simply BeautifulReviewed on 4/21/2012 Sierra G
My day was perfect and the decision to use the Mcnay was the best idea it was simply beautiful and everything I could have wanted
Great wedding experience @ this venue!Reviewed on 12/16/2011 Catherine S
McNay was a GORGEOUS venue - our guests are still raving! Gloria, the McNay event coordinator, was gracious & professional in every way. She made the experience so smooth & went above and beyond the call of duty to answer questions and make special arrangements for us (we were probably more picky than most clients). Everything was perfect, we could nto have been more pleased with this venue. Our 11/19/11 wedding will be featured on the San Antonio Weddings website - check that feature for photos of the McNay in all its glory.
Beautiful....Reviewed on 11/07/2011 Caroline G
I love the McNay, it is a beautiful location for a wedding and it was so perfect for us! Gloria was very helpful and stayed with us the whole night. Since we first booked, Gloria helped us in making the experience a lot easier. It's a bit costly but it was well worth the memories.
the McNay was AmazingReviewed on 9/19/2011 Laura B
Gloria from the McNay was extremely nice to work with. She was very helpful, professional and responsive. The reception looked beautiful. John made the lighting look fabulous. The staff was efficient the night of and even the security guards were friendly. It was picture perfect.
SPECTACULAR VENUEReviewed on 7/28/2011 Taelor B
The McNay serves as the most perfect wedding venue. The grounds outside were lush and green making the perfect backdrop to an outdoor wedding. The courtyard area needed little to no decorating since it is filled with greenery, a pond, and art. The Leeper was everything I wanted...dark hardwood floors, long curtains and beautiful lighting. Overall, I loved having my wedding at the McNay. It was classy, elegant and artsy!
McNay is beautiful, but has many restrictionsReviewed on 6/16/2011 DIANA C
I would not have chosen a different place to get married and have my reception. It was gorgeous and all of my guests loved it. There were several different areas to use, and the Leeper was a great space. Having access to the art museum was a great bonus for art lovers. There were several restrictions, though. No candles are allowed indoors (we used flameless ones). You could only use the McNay's one lighting person, which was definitely more expensive (we ended up not using any fancy lighting even though I wanted uplighting and a gobo due to the price...there is a dinner lighting setting and a darker setting for dance we used for free). No drinks are allowed in the gallery area, so when people were looking around during cocktail hour, they could not bring in their drinks. Also, because of the water restrictions (in May), the fountain had to be shut off, which means we had to shift the ceremony location....something to keep in mind. But overall, this was a great place to wed. I would recommend it even though it may be pricier than some venues.
Beautiful!Reviewed on 6/04/2011 Audrey T
The McNay is a wonderful place to get married. We had both our ceremony and reception there. Gloria is very professional and easy to work with. We had our ceremony by the fountain which is a phenomenal outdoor location. The auditorium can really transform into whatever look you want.
Lovely EventReviewed on 5/26/2011 Shannon L
Our wedding reception was held at the McNay Art Museum and we could not have been happier with the results! Gloria is wonderful to work with and can provide lots of advice when planning your event. You do have to select one of the caterers from their approved list and must use their lighting vendor, but we were happy with both. Side Notes: Do not have a separate room to have someone watch kids (if you are looking for that).
The McNay is Beautiful!Reviewed on 12/09/2010 Jessica D
This place is absolutely gorgeous! It is so beautiful and classy. The architecture is so pretty and if you are an art fan, it makes perfect sense to have a wedding here, The staff is very professional and remained that way throughout the entire event.
beautiful location!Reviewed on 8/31/2010 Jessica M
The McNay is a beautiful location before any flowers or lighting are even added! The courtyard is the perfect place for cocktail hour, and the Leeper auditorium makes a good blank canvas for any style of wedding. The perfect backdrop for wedding photos! But be aware: as it is a working art museum, security and event insurance must be taken into consideration. The staff at the McNay have facilitated many weddings and are very good at walking you through what needs to get done.